The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc. Chicago and New York,
Volume III pg. 608
Submitted by Gerald Bills.
JOHN LAFAYETTE EVERLY. Any American community might be proud to claim such
a citizen as the venerable John Lafayette Everly of Grant District, Preston
County, whose years have been spent in exemplification of the best
standards of patriotism, loyalty to his government and his fellow men, and
the cardinal virtues of industry and integrity.
He is member of the old family that was introduced into Preston County by
his grandfather Henry Everly, who came here in company with his brothers
Peter and Joseph. Joseph had fought as a Revolutionary soldier and they
settled in this part of West Virginia soon after the close of the war for
independence, probably coming from Delaware. Henry Everly made settlement
north of Terra Alta in Portland District. On Muddy Creek he set up his
blacksmith shop and continued it in connection with farming. In the late
thirties he moved to the Sandy Creek neighborhood near the present town of
Hudson, buying the Christopher Cale farm. He lived there until his death
about 1852 when about seventy years of age. He was held in high regard as a
citizen, one of the early Lutherans and prominent in that church, and
possessed some education, since he kept his own accounts and was a studious
reader of the Bible and of other current literature. Henry Everly married
Miss Lewis. A brief record of their children is as follows: Peter, who
spent his life in the Bull Run community of Preston County, where he died
at the-age of ninety; Lewis; Polly, who was the wife of Joseph Smith and
lived in Portland District; Sarah, wife of Jacob Cale, died in Pleasant
District at the age of about eighty; Joseph, who was a Union soldier in the
West Virginia Infantry and spent his civil life at Terra Alta; Nancy, wife
of John T. Smith, lived and died at Hazelton; Julia Ann was the wife of
Augustine Wolfe and died in Preston County; William, who moved to Iowa and
served from that state in the Civil war; Henry, who as a young man went to
Ohio and died in Noble County, that state.
Lewis Everly was born in 1811 in Preston County, and acquired such
education as the schools of his day provided. He learned his trade in
Portland District and he erected the first mill on Muddy Creek some time in
the ’30s or even earlier. He operated the mill as long as he lived there,
and when he moved over to Big Sandy he built the first mill at Rockville
about 1852, and conducted this plant through the period of the Civil war.
After he abandoned the mill he applied his energies to the farm and died in
1893. He was a democrat, very active in that party, and a Methodist. Lewis
Everly married Eva Zwyer, a native of West Virginia, daughter of Adam
Zwyer, of German ancestry. She died in August, 1885. Her children were:
John L., whose record follows; Henry, who was a teamster in the Union Army
and died in Preston County in 1882; Adam, who was a Union soldier in the
Fighting Seventh West Virginia, and spent the rest of his life farming in
Pleasants County; William, who was a teamster in the Union Army during the
Civil war, later was a farmer, and is now a merchant in Pleasants County;
Elizabeth, wife of Robert O’Brien, living in Noble County, Ohio; Sivilla
became the wife of Samuel Forman and died in Preston County; Thomas was a
farmer and died in 1882; Joseph is still farming in Grant District; Lewis
Wesley, a farmer near his brother Joseph in the Laurel Run region; and
Sarah J., who married Preston Icing and died near Aurora, Preston County.
John L. Everly was born January 12, 1837, and the incidents and experiences
of his boyhood and youth are largely associated with the old home on Muddy
Creek, in the vicinity of his father’s pioneer mill and his grandfather’s
blacksmith shop. He also came to his majority near Rockville. In 1856-57 he
taught school at Harmony Grove, Pleasants District and in 1858 at Cole,
same district. On July 4, 1861, he entered the Union Army as a member of
Company A of the Fighting Seventh West Virginia Infantry under Col. J. H.
Lockwood of Moundsville, whose wife presented the regiment with an extra
service flag. Mr. Everly after enlisting joined the regiment at Oakland
where he was in training about a month and was then sent out on scout duty.
The first man killed was Zach Caughron, sheriff of Taylor County, who lost
his life not at the hand of the enemy but by members of his own Company A
on account of his refusal to surrender for an offense he had committed
against the state. The first fighting in which Mr. Everly participated was
at Romney, following which came Winchester, Luray, Port Republic, all in
the Shenandoah Valley, then at Harpers Ferry, and from there to Richmond,
where his command was in the battle of Seven Pines. He was at Antietam
September 17, 1862, and the following spring went into the Wilderness
campaign with the battle of Spottsylvania, was at Cold Harbor in June, was
in the battle of Fredericksburg, at Chancellorsville in May, 1864, and had
previously been in the three days’ battle of Gettysburg, fighting during
the second and third days in front of General Pickett’s men when the
Confederates made their final charge. He was at Petersburg in the early
days of the investment of Richmond, and received his honorable discharge in
August, 1864, a month and seven days after the expiration of his
enlistment. His service as a soldier was in some of the greatest battles
and the most arduous campaigns in the principal theater of the war, yet he
escaped wounds, his haversack and canteen only being riddled by bullets.
Once a comrade was shot through the head and a piece of his skull struck
Mr. Everly in the temple and drew a little blood. With more than three
years of fighting he had more than satisfied all his taste for military
life, and after his discharge he returned home and resumed his duties on
the farm. For a time he remained near Rockville, then established his home
near Greenville Furnace where he remained until his heavier
responsibilities were concluded. There he cleared up sixty acres in the
timber, fenced it, and put up the improvements necessary for home and
prosperous agriculture. Among those buildings are two houses and two barns
which are still standing. From 1871 to 1877 he was surveyor of roads.
Though the son of a democratic father Mr. Everly cast his first ballot for
Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and again in 1864, and has been a voting member of
the republican party for sixty years, casting his sixteenth successive
ballot for a national ticket in 1920. He has been interested in community
affairs, but the only local offices he has held have been those of road
surveyor and trustee of district schools. Mr. Everly has been a faithful
church man sixty-five years and is an old fashioned Methodist and one of
the trustees of the Laurel Run congregation. He was one of the building
committee when the church was constructed, and he holds the deed to the
property in the church name. He is a charter member and the oldest brother
of Pisgah Lodge, Knights of Pythias.
In March, 1858, Mr. Everly married Miss Hila Liston. They have gone along
life’s highway band in hand for almost fifty years when their companionship
was severed by her death on February 5, 1918. She was born in Preston
County April 2, 1840, daughter of Abraham and Elizabeth (Smith) Liston. Her
father’s farm was near Harmony Grove Church in Pleasant District, where
Abraham Liston was also reared. Mrs. Everly was a girl of seventeen when
she united with the Methodist Episcopal Church and her life was an
exemplification of its spirit of Christly service. Mrs. Everly was the
mother of the following children: Fletcher Camden; Mintare A.; Serilda
Belle, wife of Philip Gribble of Morgantown; John Barton.
Fletcher Camden Everly, the oldest son, was born August 20, 1859, attended
the local district schools, and his career has been that of a farmer,
though he early learned the trade of carpenter and has built many barns and
other farm improvements in his neighborhood. He married Emma Jane Galloway
and their children are: Flora, wife of Thurman Wolfe; Mary, wife of Robert
Benson; William of Fayette County, Pennsylvania; Ethel, Mrs. Sanford
Christopher; Hazel, wife of Frank Cale; and Earl.
Mintare A. Everly, the second son, was born at Rockville March 29, 1864,
acquired a common school education, and his career has likewise been taken
up with agriculture and he resides on part of his father’s old homestead.
He is a member of the Knights of Pythias. He married Mary L. Speelman July
17, 1885. Their children are: Emma, wife of Harry Ryan of Pisgah; Lillie,
wife of Jesse Fowler of Morgantown; Dayton, of Fayette County,
Pennsylvania; Ray, a farmer near his parents; Goldie, wife of Ellis Fowler
of Morgantown; and Miss Annabelle, the only child at home. M. A. Everly is
surveyor of roads.
John Barton Everly, born April 11, 1873, grew up on the home farm and
acquired a liberal education and as a young man taught school. Since his
marriage he has been farming and lives near Clifton Mills. He married
Arminta Yeast and their children are: Zora, wife of Alva Christopher;
Bertle, who married May Sliger; and Elsie, wife of Guy Gibson. John B.
Everly was county commissioner for Grant District during 1919-20.
These sons of Mr. Everly have his political faith and they also have the
earnestness in civic affairs of their father, though they have seldom
sought office or any other political distinction.